The Virgin Mary might as well have been born with a white dress on. She epitomized purity. Many Christian females have aspired to be like Mary since her story was first told. She was the ultimate mother and exemplified the idea of the perfect woman. Mary’s crystal clear image; however, was made a bit blurry by theologian, Mary Daly. Daly suggested, in her essay, “Pure Lust”, that perhaps the Virgin’s story was not as happy and virtuous and joyful as it was made out to be; in fact, it was not even close. Daly made the claim in her article, that the Virgin Mary was raped by God (104). Daly asserted that because of this rape, all women are destined to become victims of rape if they were not already (106). In connecting Daly’s assertions with the message from the Pope, I am willing to make the argument that as the Christian God forever doomed all womankind with his alleged ‘actions against Mary’, Adam and Eve forever doomed the Earth to the ecological turmoil that it now faces.
Adam and Eve both ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge. They committed the original sin, (well, mostly Eve did; however, Adam did not say no to eating the apple) and ever since then, the Earth has suffered. Pope John Paul II described the desecration of the Earth as “a moral problem” (2). Perhaps the reason why the destruction of the Earth is “a moral problem” is because it began with Adam and Eve. Think about it, plucking a forbidden fruit from God’s precious Garden of Eden seems like a huge defilement of the Earth. Not only did Adam and Eve take the fruit from its rightful place, from its home, where it was still living and breathing as only fruits can, they ate it. They ate it like two greedy, young lovers, oblivious to the significance of the quite literal, fruits of God’s labor. Granted, we cannot be too harsh on Adam and Eve. Eve simply did not know what she was doing. The devil tempted her; she had no power under his evil wrath. Furthermore, Adam, well, Adam was just listening to his lady. He might have just been a hen-pecked lover; we cannot be too harsh on him either. Nevertheless, that does not dismiss what they did, and what they did, really does signify the first action to bring on the ruining of the Earth.
I will admit, though, that this does seem like a rather radical and black and white way of looking at the Eden story in regards to the Earth’s modern day struggles. Yet, that is precisely the point in deriving this assertion from Mary Daly’s assertion. Mary Daly was/is radical in her claims about the relationship between God and the Virgin Mary. However, her radical approach to the conception of Jesus shakes us up, and forces us to think about both males’ and females’ roles in society, in a different light. As one can say that Eve damned all of womankind forever because of her sin, we can say, that in a way, the Christian God damned all of mankind if what Mary Daly claimed is true. Just like it is not fair to judge the women who came after Eve solely on Eve’s mistake, it is not fair to judge the men who came after God, who God created, solely on what God did (which is what Mary Daly does). Much like how Mary Daly’s radical view on the relationship between God and Mary causes us to think of ideas, notions, and points we may never have thought of before, perhaps this radical view on the relationship between Adam, Eve, and the Earth will cause us to think of the causes of the Earth’s sorry state like we never thought of before.
“Many ethical values, fundamental to the development of a peaceful society, are particularly relevant to the ecological question,” the Pope stated (1). Now, when the Pope was making this statement, he most likely was not making the same assertions that I am currently making; however, his statement does spark thoughts of the age old debate between religion and science. What I gather from the Pope’s statement is this, introspection is crucial to examining the state of the Earth, to try to answer the question of how the Earth got to this state of global warming, climate change, and holes in the ozone layer. I think the Pope was trying to say when he made this statement was, we cannot dismiss the ruins of the Earth as a scientific issue, not relevant to the religious people of the world. We are of the people, the inhabitants of this world; thus, obviously what happens to the Earth should matter to us, but also, I think he was making the assertion that the desecration of the Earth has to do with human’s lack of morals, our lack of morals which end up hindering “the development of a peaceful society“. Thus, the state of the Earth is not simply a thing for geologists and meteorologists to be concerned about, it is something that every religious person should be concerned about because it is a religious matter. The desecration of the Earth is just that, desecration. Like the Pope said, it has to do with our morals, and our morals for the most part, come from our faith.
We were all taken aback when we learned of Mary Daly’s views on the Christian God. However, her severe and somewhat acerbic take on Jesus’ conception was beneficial. It enabled us to think about the divine conception in a way we have never thought about before and thus, examine the relationship between men and women from a different view. Thus, in the same vein, although the Pope most likely did not intend for people to take his message as another reason to get mad at Adam and Eve, but I did appreciate how he encouraged people to look at themselves and the connection between morality and science a little more closely. Perhaps the connotation of “original” in Adam and Eve’s original sin meant not just the origin of humans as sinners, but also the origin of humans as defilers of the Earth.
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Pope John Paul II. “Peace with God the Creator, Peace with all of Creation.” 2009. Imago Dei Course Reader. Comp. Mozena Publishing, Inc. 1-6. Print.